Monday, October 25, 2010

Over a million Palestinian Arabs want to leave their homeland - and cannot

The latest PSR poll asks Palestinian Arabs:

Do current political, security, and economic conditions lead you to seek emigration abroad?

37% of Gazans, and 24% of West Bankers, say either that they "certainly seek to emigrate" or "seek to emigrate" from the territories.

That comes out to some 1.1 million Palestinian Arabs who do not want to stick around.

Now, imagine what would happen if they were free to emigrate to any Arab country they wanted. After all, the Arab League encourages its members to have liberal naturalization policies for Arabs from any Arab state - except Palestine.

The reason given by the Arab leaders for this explicitly discriminatory policy is that they are helping to preserve Palestinian Arab unity - by keeping them in a stateless limbo. But has anyone asked the Palestinian Arabs themselves what they want to do? As high as these numbers of West Bank and Gaza Arabs who want to emigrate are, the percentages of those who are already in other Arab countries and would love to become full citizens in their host or other Arab countries is almost certainly much higher - many millions who would happily become citizens elsewhere.

For some reason, their freedom of choice is not a concern for organizations like Human Rights Watch, which explicitly denies individual Palestinian Arabs the right to become citizens of their host Arab countries. And they are silent, of course, on Arab League discriminatory policies against Palestinians.

By sheer repetition of the mantra of "keeping Palestinian unity," the world has bought into one of the greatest human rights abuses occurring today, by Arabs against their fellow Arabs.

As I was writing this, I discovered a tiny loophole that some Palestinian Arabs have managed to use to become citizens of some Gulf countries. If they manage to move to the EU first, and become citizens there, then they or their children can move to Arab countries and become citizens as non-Palestinians!